Netflix Inc., ratcheting up competition with HBO, will produce 13 episodes of a new comedy series, “Orange is the New Black,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The online movie and TV service, based in Los Gatos, California, will have first rights to the series from the creator of “Weeds,” said the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak before the deal is announced. The show is based on the memoir of a communications executive who served time for drug-related charges in a minimum security women’s prison.
The comedy from “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohan is the second original series bankrolled by Netflix, which is positioning itself as a rival to Time Warner Inc.’s HBO. The company also backed the Kevin Spacey drama “House of Cards” that airs this year. Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings in December described HBO GO, the online offshoot of the cable network, as “the competitor we fear most.”
Netflix has also has picked up exclusive distribution rights to series produced by others. The Norwegian drama “Lilyhammer” is now available, and new episodes of “Arrested Development” are scheduled for 2013. “Weeds,” airing on CBS Corp.’s Showtime, is about a suburban mom who becomes a marijuana dealer.
Netflix gained 3.9 percent to $122.88 at 1:10 p.m. New York time. The stock had gained 71 percent this year before today after declining 61 percent in 2011.